And now that magic date of Sept. 12, with the Cincinnati Bengals coming to Foxborough, stands right in front of him. Welker’s ready, all right, but he’s also been through enough to know that he won’t be able to just flip a switch and become the guy who caught 123 games, despite missing two games and most of another, last year. This part will be a process too, in returning to that kind of form.
“I still feel like I’m a long ways off from that personally,” Welker said in a quiet moment away from the masses in the post-game locker room. “People say it looks the same. I don’t feel the same. So I’m not gonna put a number on myself.
“My deal is going out there and playing as hard as I can every single play, and just trying to do my job. Whatever it is at the end is what it is, and we’re gonna just go out and try to win games.”
We’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s paper, and how Welker pushed through some pretty tough days and how much all this means to him.
But know this: All of this has gone the way he planned it to in one important sense, that being that he never, ever planned on missing games. The talk of going on the Active/PUP list — which would’ve sidelined him for six games — wasn’t exactly part of his thought process. Ever.
“The whole PUP deal or sitting out games or whatever, that never really entered my mind,” Welker said. “I just wanted to get back as early as possible, whenever that was and we’re getting closer to the season now, and hopefully we’re gonna be good to go. …
“We didn’t really put a date on (the return). We discussed some different things we had to go about and different aspects came into play. For me, it was never a question. I wasn’t gonna sit out. It’s just not in me. I can’t do it.”